Southampton Women’s FC vs AFC Basildon Women Match Report

South East met West as AFC Basildon came from behind twice to knock Southampton Women’s FC out of the FAWNL Cup.

With the weather wreaking havoc across the country, claiming many games in the process, a waterlogged Romsey Town pitch meant a late change of venue, Southampton Women’s doing well to secure an alternative to ensure the game was played.

The visitors made just one change to the side that saw them secure a comfortable 8-2 victory to progress into the next round of the FA Cup, while Southampton Women’s, who have enjoyed a very strong season to date, made five changes to their starting eleven.

Southampton got the game underway amid damp and windy conditions in Basingstoke.

The opening exchanges were evenly contested, with both teams creating chances, the ‘keepers and their backlines besting their attacking counterparts to keep the game goalless.

An early Southampton free-kick came to nothing and Yeates was denied by some resolute defending before Turner was unable to test Kite at the other end.

Further chances were created, but once again Kite and Bolland came out on top, Vokes first denied brilliantly by Blues’ shot-stopper, followed by saves from England’s U19 Rose Kite to maintain parity after 25 minutes.

With Southampton looking to exploit space down the wings, the ball found its way to Emily Wernham whose precision defence-splitting cross was met by Vokes to prod the ball into Bolland’s net giving the hosts the lead in the 29th minute.

Shortly after Rose Kite pulled off an incredible save, before Basildon eventually levelled through a fantastic Holly Turner strike from 20-yards just before the interval.

The referee blew his whistle to conclude the first half with the score one a piece.

Half-time: 1-1

Blues made a tactical adjustment at half-time, switching to 4-4-2; a decision that proved to be immediately effective for the Essex side.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half was mostly controlled by Basildon, winning aerial battles and pressing from the front limiting Southampton’s options to play out from the back, frustrating Kite when looking to distribute.

Turner, playing with confidence and proving difficult for Southampton’s backline to handle, cut inside on her left foot before unleashing a powerful shot that was met by a huge Kite hand, an unbelievable save to keep the scores level.

But for all the Blues’ hard work, it was Southampton who survived the early pressure and started to get a foothold in the game to begin to create chances of their own.

After 25 minutes of the second half, Southampton looked to have restored their lead through Lauren Clark before Mollie Debell cleared the ball off the line, the defender showing great awareness and dexterity to deny a certain goal.

Moments later and Laura Vokes connected with Samuels’ cross to score her, and Southampton’s, second goal of the afternoon.

Rose Kite did brilliantly to tip the ball onto the bar but was helpless to prevent Sophie Spencer-Webb from following up, the 17-year-old side-footing the ball into the back of the net to restore parity once again in the 78th minute.

With fewer than 10 minutes remaining, the referee adjudged a Basildon player to have handled the ball in the area and pointed to the spot.

Jane Yeates stepped up and struck the ball well, but Bolland was equal to it – a superb save to keep things all square late on.

Into the 91st minute with extra-time looking likely, substitute Courtney Clarke swung in a dangerous corner that looped high into the air and fell to a Basildon player, who managed to bundle the ball into the back of the net through a crowded six-yard box.

Full-time: 2-3

AFC Basildon progress to the Second Round of the FAWNL League Cup.

Post match thoughts

  • An excellent game of football, an emotional back-and-forth, and plenty of drama. Other than a dog or squirrel on the pitch, I’m not sure what else the game could’ve had. Cup football at its finest!
  • My Player of the Match was Holly Turner. If it wasn’t for the heroics of Kite she would have scored more, but her general play caused Southampton’s backline a lot of problems. Lots of energy, backed her ability to create chances, and contributed with a goal of her own.
  • Although five goals were scored, both keepers did exceptionally well, pulling off a number of very good saves. Rose Kite was Southampton’s best player in my opinion. Very impressive performance.
  • AFC Basildon showed a lot of spirit and fight to get back into the game twice, and eventually go on to win it. Heads didn’t drop. For a team as young as Blues’ that has gone through – still going through? – a transition period, they genuinely impressed me. Especially against a strong and experienced Southampton team.
  • Ref was so-so.

Oxford United Women vs Crawley Wasps Match Report

Naomi Cole was once again the U’s tormentor as she scored another late FAWNL Cup goal.

In blistering heat at Court Place Farm Wasps kicked-off to get the game underway.

In a game that started with a surprisingly high tempo, with both teams keen to impose their will early, it was the home side who settled quicker and began to find a little rhythm; Haynes shooting from distance and then Hines attempting the same minutes later, both failing to test Frankie Gibbs.

A matter of minutes into the game and the players were already visually showing the effects of the intense heat.

Locked in a closely contested midfield battle, neither side had created any genuine chances, but their application was good, with Wasps attempting to play out from back through the thirds, and Oxford applying an exhausting high press.

Crawley’s best chance to create an opportunity came after 15 minutes when Cole pressured Haynes, who took the Row-Z approach and smashed the ball from danger.

After around 20 minutes both teams were forced into making changes: Searle replaced Kirby for Oxford, while Young replaced Pittuck for Wasps.

After a short water break the game resumed.

Around 25 minutes into the game and Wasps forced their first corner, Sercombe climbing above Russell to gather the ball well.

The game was largely contested in the middle of the park, and while there was nothing too penetrating from either side, it was developing into an intriguing contest.

Nearing the end of the half, Oxford won several corners: Stephenson coming off the front post well to win a commanding header, Gibbs climbing high and opting to punch. Crawley dealt with the pressure well, the U’s unable to take advantage.

Crawley’s best chance of the half came just before half-time. A through ball found the feet of Cole, met by a scrambling Sercombe, the U’s keeper did just enough to distract the forward who put the ball wide.

Oxford had one final chance of the half when good work down the right from Roberts saw her find Johns in space, whose cross struck a Crawley defender, almost finding her own net as a result.

The referee blew his whistle to conclude the first-half that saw neither Gibbs or Sercombe really tested. 45 minutes with very few genuine chances.

Half-time: Oxford United Women 0 – 0 Crawley Wasps

The second-half recommenced and familiarity along with it, a half-chance from Lancaster from distance comfortably held by Gibbs, Crawley playing out from the back: Palmer, to Young, to Stephens.

As the match wore on and legs began to tire it became a game of attrition: the players versus the unbelievable heat, the 3G pitch doing the players no favours.

Oxford had rarely looked troubled, and other than a few routine catches, Sercombe had little to do, but as the game entered the last 20 minutes, Crawley began to find more space; Beaver showing good strength to see off any danger, Ellie Searle making a well-timed challenge to deny substitute Ledezma-Viso, Nash finding space to make bursting runs. Crawley benefiting from fresh legs and were now enjoying their best period of the game.

Wasps almost made the breakthrough with 18 minutes to go when a concise pass from Nash found a forward in the box, who dragged her shot wide of Sercombe’s right post.

Oxford also began making use of some of the gaps appearing down the left-hand side, Seale and Bent combining well before Bent’s dangerous cross was headed out by Russell.

With five minutes to go extra-time looked likely, but a defensive mistake saw Naomi Cole through on goal and finish smartly past Sercombe. Cole -who scored late against the U’s in the FAWNL Cup last season to rescue the game and deny Oxford the win – was once again Wasps’ hero.

Oxford United 0 – 1 Crawley Wasps

Late into the game and Oxford tried to mount pressure, attempting a number of shots from range, but with time against them Crawley managed to see the game out as the referee blew the final whistle on a very closely contested fixture.

Wasps progress to the first round of the FAWNL Cup, while Oxford enter the FAWNL Plate competition.

Both teams return to league action at the weekend as Oxford hope to bounce back when they travel to Watford, while Crawley host bottom side Hounslow.


Oxford: Sercombe, Roberts, Clifford, Beaver, Kirby (Searle), Hines, Haynes (c), Johns, Lancaster (Baker), Bent, Timms (Moore).

Wasps: Gibbs, Russell, Palmer, Pittuck (Young), James, Rabson, Owen, Stephens (Ledezma-Viso), Stevenson (Nash), Cole (c), Flieschman.

Oxford United Women vs Crawley Wasps Match Preview

Oxford United finally get their season underway when they welcome fellow Southern Premier side, and last season’s FAWNL Cup finalists, Crawley Wasps, to Court Place Farm this Sunday in the FAWNL Cup.

After an opening weekend of contrasting emotions – Wasps experienced the elation of winning their first fixture after gaining promotion, while Oxford had to manage the disappointment of a late postponement – the two sides meet in a repeat of last season’s FAWNL Cup competition, and although much has changed for both participants, it is expected to be another closely contested fixture.

The U’s enjoyed a near-perfect pre-season, drawing with London Bees before beating Southampton Women’s FC, Wolves, Abingdon United, and Championship side, Lewes. Goals and positives aplenty, preparations have been a stark contrast to the turbulent pre-season the club experienced a year ago, with Liam Gilbert’s side set to begin the season in a very good place as a club.

Bolstered by the re-signing of last season’s Southern Premier Golden Boot winner, Emily Allen, who is available for selection at the weekend, Oxford have recruited very well during the close season, bringing in Ellie Kirby, Georgia Clifford, Ellie Searle, Brogan Moore, Daisy McLachlan, and Aimee Watson, while Kayleigh Hines returns from a long-term injury, and U16s standout, Carly Johns, makes the step up to the senior squad.

Oxford have experienced a few departures, the most notable being Ellie Noble (Lewes), Lucy Thomas and Flo Fyfe (both London City Lionesses) but overall, the squad is much stronger than at the same time last season, with genuine competition for places across the pitch.

Having been forced to wait an additional week, Oxford will be keen to avenge the loss, and more importantly, start the 2019/20 campaign off strongly.

After a successful promotion campaign that saw Crawley reach the final of the FAWNL Cup and win the league by an impressive 11 points, the West Sussex based side have managed to maintain the momentum that carried them through last season, beating several teams during pre-season, including Championship side London Bees, though their most important victory to date came last weekend, at the expense of Plymouth. A positive introduction to life in the Southern Premier Division.

Paul Walker was understandably busy during the summer as he prepared for life in Tier 3, making a number of signings including winger Tash Stephens, Maria Ledezma-Viso, Sam Pittuck, Hope Nash, Charlotte Owen, Rebecca Carter, and ex-Northern Ireland defender Alex Newman, who returned to football after 3 years out due to injury.

As expected, there was also a number of departures with Amy Green, Millie Carter, Abbie Measures, Amy Woollard, and long-serving Suzanne Davies departing the club.

Wasps travel to Oxfordshire hoping to build on a good result last weekend while knowing a victory against league contenders Oxford United would make a real statement.

Several narratives could be applied to this game: a rematch of last season, a head-to-head of two sides likely to be fighting for the very top places in the division, an early litmus test of sorts, but above all else, it should be a footballing spectacle between to very good teams.

The winners progress to the next round, while the losers are entered into the FAWNL Plate competition.